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Moscow says US plan to sell armed drones to Ukraine will not impact Russia’s military operation

This file photo shows workers prepare an MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle for static display at Michael Army Airfield, Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, the United States.

The Kremlin says the plan by the United States to sell armed drones to Ukraine will not change the parameters of Russia’s military operation in the ex-Soviet country.

Washington plans to sell Ukraine at least four MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones that can be armed with Hellfire missiles to be used in battleground.

However, Congress can still block the transaction, which also can be derailed by a last- minute policy reversal.

Russia’s military operation in Ukraine since February 24 has unleashed a raging flood of arms from the US and its European allies into the ex-Soviet country. Moscow has time and again warned that the current flood of arms being sent to Ukraine would prolong the conflict.

“Pumping weapons into Ukraine does not change all the parameters of the special operation," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call. "Its goals will be achieved, but this will bring more suffering to Ukraine ...,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov at a press conference on Thursday.

When asked about the possibility that Russia could be targeted from inside Ukraine with the new arms, Peskov responded that he still does “not want to talk about absolutely undesirable and very unpleasant scenarios in which these weapons could hypothetically be used against targets on our territory.”

He, however, stressed that if such attacks were launched, they “would significantly shift the situation toward an unfavorable direction.”

Since the onset of war, the Russian military has tried to intercept and destroy Ukraine’s Western-supplied weapons.

Moscow says waves of unprecedented sanctions imposed on Russia over the operation in Ukraine and the huge flow of arms to Kiev amount to a “proxy war” by the US and its allies.  

A number of European countries, including France and Germany, along with the US, have so far shipped tons of military equipment, artillery munitions, and guns with a declared aim of helping Ukraine against Russian troops.

Interpol Secretary General Juergen Stock on Wednesday warned that many of the arms being sent by the West to Ukraine would ultimately end up in criminal hands in Europe and beyond.

His remarks came just a day after US President Joe Biden announced that Washington would send “more advanced rocket systems and munitions” to Ukraine.

Kiev, which hopes to outnumber the Russians both technologically and in numbers of artillery, heavily relies on its Western allies to support and fulfill their promises to regain back the Donbas, composed of two breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk that Moscow has vowed to "liberate".

EU move to phase out Russian oil ‘self-destructive’

Separately on Thursday, Russia’s foreign ministry warned in a statement that the decision by the European Union to gradually get rid of Russian oil would likely destabilize global energy markets, describing it as a “self-destructive” step that could backfire on the bloc.  

“The European Union’s decisions to partially phase out Russian oil and oil products, as well as to ban insurance on Russian merchant ships, are highly likely to provoke further price increases, destabilize energy markets, and disrupt supply chains,” the statement read.

EU leaders on Monday reached an agreement to cut 90 percent of oil imports from Russia by the end of the current year. The move could be the EU’s harshest sanctions against Moscow since the start of war.

While European Council President Charles Michel believes that the oil sanctions will bar Moscow from reaching an enormous source of financing and put pressure on it to end its military campaign, Moscow warns that such a step will end up harming the bloc’s own economy.

“Brussels and its political sponsors in Washington bear full responsibility for the risk of an exacerbation in global food and energy issues caused by the illegitimate actions of the European Union,” the statement by Russia’s foreign ministry further said.

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